Recent mobile technology progress has given us a spirit of freedom and an increased desire to do what we want, when we want and where we want to do it. And, while we tend to associate this digital nomad mentality with Millennials, it is gradually gaining a foothold among all generations across nearly all types of jobs.

 

Flexible working hours, being able to work away from the office and a better work-life balance…tele-working was first introduced in 1970 in California and has been variously relabelled as e-working, work at home or even homeshoring in the customer experience marketplace – so it is not a new model per se. But, thanks to more effective Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and more secure data, a growing number of businesses are coming around to the idea and recognizing its strategic value.

 

The model is spreading, mindsets are changing

Around 25 percent of the American working population now work from home, placing the phenomenon firmly in the mainstream and reflecting changes in society’s usages and the way it manages its time.

 

According to FlexJobs.com [1], 60 percent of Generation Y consider that they work better from home than in an office and 82 percent express greater loyalty and trust in an employer that allows for more flexible practices. Younger employees are increasingly shunning rigid work organization structures and their lack of creativity. Teleworking challenges this organization by fostering a new mindset and relationship with a company – and with work itself – that is underpinned by trust.

A win-win model

This new managerial culture is increasingly present in big corporations. In fact, 10 percent of Fortune 500 companies already have teleworking arrangements and FlexJobs reported an 11 percent rise in the number of e-working job offers in 2016.

 

In 2016, Global Workplace Analytics (GWA), international consultants in flexible working practices, reported that businesses could generate annual savings of $11,000 per associate if they allowed half of their workforce to work from home – and associates could save between $2,000 and $7,000 in transportation costs alone.

 

More flexible hours, shorter commutes, lower transport costs, simpler childcare arrangements, better work-life balance and enhanced productivity – the benefits of having less stressed “Work at home agents” are fairly obvious. And there are no shortage of positive results for companies either: 80 percent of employers report teleworkers are more motivated resulting in better qualified and more loyal associates coupled with lower costs, an average 22 percent rise in productivity and a 2.5 percent increase in working time [2].

 

The current success of e-working arrangements is being driven by changing mindsets which are redrawing spatial-temporal boundaries in the world of work and its related management models. However, this logistical and structural transformation would not be possible without technological innovation. When this model is used and applied effectively, it can be a fantastic strategic development and business performance opportunity.

Three Questions with Marcy Payne, VP, Operations, Sitel Group Work@Home Solutions

1. What is the strategic thinking behind Sitel’s Work@Home Solutions?

Our aim was to change the ground rules in order to achieve a better fit between the needs of businesses and those of the young associates we hope to retain into the future. We wanted to be at the cutting edge of changing practices and to keep on adapting to change. And our Work at Home mode is exactly that – a change enablement program!

2. What are the key factors that differentiate your Work at Home solution from a more traditional model?

Aside from its solution for dealing with the peak demands that brands have to contend with, Work at Home also factors in the highly specific and local – and sometimes very costly – needs of brands. Without increasing our costs, we are able to work with more loyal associates with specialized skills in terms of languages spoken, expertise and availability because we have removed the constraints linked to employment areas that continue to affect contact centers. Our agents are older, 85 percent have a college degree and 40 percent have had some management experience.

3. What are the risks that still make certain brands reluctant to work with Work at Home and how do you handle this?

While there are many advantages to the teleworking model, there is also a risk of isolation. Our Work at Home’s communication solutions seek to mitigate such risks by favoring direct, rapid and ongoing communication between the company, associates and their colleagues. We are constantly conducting surveys of e-workers and devising initiatives to keep them closely involved. For example, on a day-to-day basis, they stay in touch thanks to gamification modules and are immersed in our corporate culture via interactive communication applications such as chat, video conferencing social media platforms, etc.

 

Click here to learn more about Sitel’s Work@Home Solutions.

 

[1] International platform dedicated all types of flexible jobs

[2] Source: Working Anytime Anywhere, a research report published jointly by Eurofound and the International Labor Organisation in February 2017.


Sitel Group


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